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Hundreds gather in Columbia to protest Missouri abortion ban

A speaker stands in front of a crowd of abortion rights supporters at the Boone County courthouse amphitheater.
Sebastián Martínez Valdivia
Karen Sicheneder speaks in front of a crowd of abortion rights supporters at the Boone County courthouse on Saturday, June 25. Sicheneder and other speakers urged attendees to get involved in the upcoming election.

Despite temperatures in the upper 90s, hundreds of people gathered in Columbia over the weekend to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe versus Wade. A large crowd gathered at the Boone County courthouse on Saturday evening in support of abortion rights.

Speakers, including local Democratic politicians and candidates for office, urged attendees to vote and to get involved in the upcoming mid-term elections.

Columbia resident Patty Purvis attended the rally and said the court’s decision was out of line with the rest of the country. “They have no position to make a ruling like this, when the majority of people don’t support that decision and it’s just their personal bias, based on their faith and we’re not a theocracy,” Purvis said.

Standing in front of the Hawthorn Bank building opposite the courthouse, Mariana Morales Quinones said she attended the rally to support safe and legal abortion. "I think it's a very sad decision and that it's going to cause a lot of women to lose their lives or get hurt when they seek unsafe abortions," Quinones said.

After hearing from a handful of speakers, many attendees marched out onto Broadway before dispersing. Saturday’s demonstration followed similar protests in Columbia and Jefferson City on Friday evening following the court’s decision.

Missouri became the first state in the country to enact a trigger law banning abortion statewide except in the case of medical emergencies.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia was a health reporter at KBIA and is documentary filmmaker who focuses on access to care in rural and immigrant communities. A native Spanish speaker and lifelong Missouri resident, Sebastián is interested in the often overlooked and under-covered world of immigrant life in the rural midwest. He has a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri and a master's degree in documentary journalism at the same institution. Aside from public health, his other interests include conservation, climate change and ecology.